Dr. Bakermans received her Ph.D in Microbiology from Cornell University in 2001, and began her study of cold-adapted microorganisms from permafrost (permanently frozen soils) at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. With the aid of a NASA fellowship, Dr. Bakermans’s research continued at Michigan State and Montana State Universities prior to beginning at Penn State Altoona in 2009 where she teaches courses in microbiology and bioinformatics. Her research on the physiology and adaptations of bacteria that live in permafrost has resulted in over 30 peer-reviewed publications to date and she recently published (as editor) the book Microbial Evolution under Extreme Conditions. With the assistance of grants from the US Department of Energy's Joint Genome Institute, Dr. Bakermans's current work focuses on the genomic basis of thermal adaptation and carbon metabolism in permafrost isolates.
Mark W. Johnson received his Ph.D. in Mathematics from the University of Washington in the summer of 1999. Before coming to Penn State Altoona, he performed abstract mathematical research while teaching at Northwestern, Notre Dame, and Syracuse. His research is primarily on the interface between algebraic topology and category theory, especially on questions involving aspects of homotopy theory. His 2015 co-authored research monograph deals with highly complex operational structures called generalized PROPs, and he just finished editing a proceedings volume for a major international conference he co-organized in July 2017, with both being published by the American Mathematical Society, Dr. Johnson is currently focused on a follow-up research monograph studying the homotopy theory of generalized PROPs in addition to several smaller projects.
Kim S. Ménard, associate professor of criminal justice and women's gender, and sexuality studies, earned her doctorate from Penn State in 2003. Her research focuses on interpersonal violence, specifically gender differences in the victimization and perpetration of these crimes, as well as victim reporting behavior and involvement in the criminal justice system. She is the author of Reporting Sexual Assault: A Social Ecology Perspective. Her work has also appeared in a host of journals, including "Criminal Justice and Behavior," "Journal of Interpersonal Violence,” “Law & Human Behavior," “Violence Against Women,” and "Violence and Victims.”
Sandra Harbert Petrulionis is the author of To Set This World Right: The Antislavery Movement in Thoreau’s Concord, the editor of Thoreau In His Own Time, and Thoreau's Journal 8: 1854, and the co-editor of The Oxford Handbook of Transcendentalism and More Day to Dawn: Thoreau’s Walden for the 21st Century. In addition, she has published on Herman Melville, Louisa May Alcott, and other American writers and reformers. Her current research includes two long-term projects--a cultural biography of 19th-century activist, author, and editor Thomas Wentworth Higginson; and, with Noelle A. Baker, a scholarly, annotated, digital edition of the complete Almanacks of Mary Moody Emerson. Sandy is also the Director of the NEH Summer Institute on "Transcendentalism and Social Reform."
Grant A. Risha received his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Penn State in 2003. His primary research interests are reactive flows/combustion, fluid dynamics, heat transfer, and propulsion. He has performed research on the enhancement of hybrid rocket solid fuel performance by introducing nano-sized energetic particles, solid propellant airbag combustion, pyrotechnic igniter characterization, solid, hybrid, and bi-propellant rocket combustion, diffusion flame combustion, aluminum/water combustion, and solid fuel pyrolysis.